Sunday: Catoosa cancer survivor surprised with Bieber tickets
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Saturday, January 05, 2013
Elena Ramirez is a wiz at grilled cheese.
“Does this look good?” she asked from the kitchen, pressing a spatula on top of one of her creations while her family gathered at the dining table nearby.
Yes, was the consensus, as their Catoosa apartment filled with the scent of buttered bread and melting cheese quietly sizzling on the griddle.
This was about all Elena would eat when she was sick, said the 15-year-old’s mother, Jamie, motioning at the griddle and the pot of tomato soup steaming beside it.
“It was the only thing that ever tasted right,” Jamie said while Elena flipped the last two grilled cheeses on a stack behind her.
“And pickles,” Elena added, putting the soup and sandwiches on the table for her family — younger sisters Cassandra, who’s 13, and Emma, 8; as well as Jamie’s fiance, John Long, and his son, 12-year-old Trenton.
The grilled cheeses didn’t last long, and Elena seemed content with yet another culinary success.
Elena was diagnosed with stage-three synovial sarcoma two years ago this month. After rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as other medical setbacks, she’s finally returning to some semblance of normalcy.
To celebrate that return, she’s going to see her favorite singer, Justin Bieber, on Wednesday night at the BOK Center.
She’s liked the 18-year-old pop star since he first burst upon the music scene, Elena said — not unlike millions of other teenage girls around the world.
But Elena stands out among those fans because of a rare medical close-call.
Read more in Sunday's World.
Elena Ramirez, 15, sits next to a wall adorned with Justin Bieber pictures and articles at her home in Catoosa. Ramirez is a teen cancer survivor who will get to see Justin Bieber in concert this month, thanks to some donated tickets. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World